Furious Alonso says title hopes finished

Sat, 6 October 2007, 12:06

A furious Fernando Alonso on Saturday wrote off his chances of winning a third consecutive world championship after qualifying just fourth in China.

The 26-year-old Spaniard, whose McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton secured pole and will wrap up the title if he wins on Sunday, suggested to reporters after getting out of his car in Shanghai that he has been locked out of the process of determining his pit strategy for the race.

Hamilton had not featured as one of the quicker contenders in any of the practice sessions this weekend, or in the low-fuel ‘Q1’ and ‘Q2′ sectors, and team boss Ron Dennis said on Saturday that “it will be crucial to be at the front of the grid” if the expected rain arrives for the race.

Dennis on Friday scolded Alonso for insinuating that McLaren might break with its policy of equality now that Hamilton is on the verge of his first title.

FIA president Max Mosley had warned amid the espionage saga that if McLaren “do anything wrong against Alonso, they will have to answer to us in Paris”.

Alonso, in China, said he did not know if he has been put on a heavier fuel strategy for the grand prix.

“I don’t know when we are stopping, let alone the Ferraris,” he said, before telling Italy’s Sky TV that the championship “has been decided off the track”.

“I’m not thinking of this championship any more,” said Alonso, who earlier on Saturday was quoted by a Spanish newspaper as questioning stewards’ decision to not penalise Hamilton for erratic driving behind the safety car a week ago.

He added: “I am a little bit pessimistic after the result today and after what happened all weekend.”

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